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An overview of tools for creating 2D and 3D animation

the most used tools, along with examples
In the previous article, we talked about the production of creatives from the point of view of mobile marketing. In this article, we’ll focus on the technical aspects. Here are the animation tools that our designers typically use to create video ads.
After Effects
After Effects. One of the main programs for working with animation. All creatives go through AE at the final stage. In AE, it is convenient to create visual and sound effects, add music, UI elements and various text, transitions, and do color correction. Sometimes, this tool is enough to create the whole work from A to Z, but often in AE we only do the final polishing.

Some developers release separate plugins (scripts) for AE, which significantly expand the program's capabilities, and save us time.
Animation in After Effects
DUIK. This is one of the most popular plugins for After Effects. This tool is primarily used for 2D character animation. And to be precise, to create a rig. Rigs help to create controls for character movement - a skeleton is created to which body parts are attached. For movable limbs, controllers are made that are convenient to tweak. Inverse kinematics is switched on - for example, so that when moving the wrist back, the elbow itself bends correctly.
Controllers are made for changing emotions, controlling expressions, etc. The script is officially free and developed by one person.
Animation in After Effects & DUIK
Spine. This program is mainly used in game development. Many customers provide sources in Spine, so this tool is a must for a designer.

Thanks to the mesh and skeleton, you can easily animate characters here, as well as quickly import animation for later work in a different environment.
Animation in Spine

Autodesk Maya

Maya is one of the most popular 3D animation tools in the world. It’s used to create animated shorts, special effects, and to build entire scenes in science fiction films.

Despite the huge capabilities of the program, it has a fairly user-friendly interface. There are thousands of tutorials for Maya on the Internet, which makes it relatively easy to learn.
Autodesk Maya (or simply Maya) has well-developed modeling tools. In this work, the designer used them to make the car look older, dent some doors, break some parts of the car, etc.

They also used the UV tools to apply the rust textures more correctly.
The car is a client asset, the assets on the shelves are from stocks resources, and the garage was designed from scratch.
This is how the process of producing a creative in the Maya environment looks like. On the left is the working part of the program, and on the right is a rendering preview. As you can see, there are a lot of options on the toolbar, but they’re arranged very conveniently.
Cinema 4D, Element 3D, Mixamo

Not every project requires the use of these programs – they’re often only needed for working out highly detailed and complex creatives or for working with customers’ 3D models. These tools allow you to both work with ready-made objects and create elements from scratch. This is painstaking and time-consuming work, but it’s often the best way to achieve great results.
This 25-second video has a lot of visuals. This is a rather complicated project, and the designer used several tools to create it.
Most of the work was done in Element 3D, another great plugin for After Effects. To create the effect of infinite space, elements of the environment were multiplied. The staff that the main character holds was drawn from scratch. The lighting and arrangement of elements was also done in this program.

This animation was made in Mixamo. This is a very handy tool for creating a digital skeleton and performing character animation. Cinema 4D was used to tie together all the animation.
DAZ Studio
DAZ. It is a free redistributable tool that is indispensable in those situations when you need to create a character, and show anatomy and emotions. The advantage of DAZ is a huge internal library with which you can create a character from scratch. What can be done here in an hour would take much, much longer in Cinema 4D.
Animation in DAZ Studio
Unreal Engine
About two years ago we started working with UE (Unreal Engine), and this program has definitely surpassed our expectations. Its main advantage is that you can create animation and not waste a lot of time on rendering – this is done in real time. This is especially important for producing creatives, since we have to work with customers and their deadlines. For example, if the designer is sent some edits, it’s really helpful not to have to wait a long time just for rendering.

There’s also a huge library with assets that help us create the necessary visuals for further work.

Animation in Unreal Engine
Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
These are incredibly important programs that help to more clearly fit the assets/sources to the scenario we need, or we can draw the sources ourselves inside the programs for further work.

When producing this creative, the designer worked in tandem with the illustrator. The rendered images were layered and further animated in After Effects.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some of the tools used to produce creatives. This is just a small part of a larger cycle of processes, each of which requires expertise and continuous improvement.
Good luck!
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©2022, AdSide Media
©2022, AdSide Media